July 3, 2020
Business News

Suspended county Kilkenny rail service will return but without changes to timetable – Irish Rail

A train service through South Kilkenny that had been suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic will return to service once this crisis is over Irish Rail have confirmed.

The Waterford to Limerick Junction rail service has been suspended since March 30 and despite fears about the future of the service, Irish Rail have confirmed to KilkennyNow.ie, services will resume once the Covid-19 emergency has passed.

However, it appears there are no plans to alter the service’s timetable to bring it in line with business hours in Waterford or connecting times to the Dublin service.

The issue of whether the service is going to be reimplemented at the Ferrybank station was pushed in the Dáil last month by recently elected Waterford Green Party TD, Marc Ó Cathasaigh among others.

Speaking to KilkennyNow.ie, a spokesperson for Irish Rail confirmed the services will resume but could not put an exact date on its return due to the current Covid-19 restrictions.

“Reflecting the dramatically reduced numbers travelling on our services,” the spokesperson said, “we have a temporary schedule in operation across our network, which was implemented from 30th March.

“This includes suspension of services on the Waterford to Limerick Junction and Limerick to Ballybrophy (via Nenagh) lines. This temporary schedule was approved by the National Transport Authority.

“Our normal schedule is provided for under our contract with the NTA, which includes services on the Waterford to Limerick Junction line.  We will continue to liaise with the NTA on appropriate services throughout all phases of the COVID-19 crisis, building to full restoration of services on this line,” the spokesperson said.

 

When asked whether this may be an appropriate time to exam the under-utilised line’s timetable, Irish Rail’s spokesperson said due to low user numbers, there are no plans to change anything at present.

“We would restore the schedule which existed prior to the pandemic,” the spokesperson said.

“On wider usage levels, we have over many years – both at times of economic growth and recession – operated varying levels of services, with both national promotion and local promotion but without significant uptake.

“It is a low density route, and given the (pre-COVID) dramatic increases in demand on other routes, and pressure on capacity on those, this is where service and capacity expansion is intended to be prioritised, but we will continue to promote all routes and engage with local communities to seek new business opportunities,” the spokesperson concluded.

The line, which originally ran all the way to Rosslare Harbour, has been operational since 1848, but since 2010 terminates at Plunkett Station due to the closure of the line to the county Wexford port. The line starts in Ferrybank and runs through Mooncoin, Fiddown and Piltown before entering the Golden Vale at Carrick-on-Suir.

 

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